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Clayton Co. pitches alternate Falcons stadium site

ATLANTA, Ga. -- It's not a competition. Jeff Turner says his proposal is an alternative, not a competitor. But the Atlanta Falcons would be welcome at a stadium site outside downtown Atlanta, if they need one.

"And why not come to Clayton County?" asks Jeff Turner, chairman of the board of commissioners in the county that sits directly south of Atlanta.

The site Turner touts is alongside US 41 / Dixie Highway, just south of the Fulton County line, a stark 150 mostly-undeveloped acres inside the I-285 perimeter. It's long on history; there are four markers commemorating Civil War events there. But there's not a whole lot else.

"It's been used as a dumping ground, pretty much," Turner said. "A lot of space, a lot of unoccupied land."  Turner says much of the property is county owned.

Clayton State Women's Basketball ranked #1 in the nation

MORROW, GA -- For the second time in the last three years, the Clayton State women's basketball team is ranked as the #1 team in the country.

The undefeated and Peach Belt Conference champion Lakers moved up to #1 in the latest edition of the USA Today Sports/ESPN Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll released today (Tuesday).

Clayton State (25-0; 18-0 PBC) moved up to the top spot after defeating Georgia Southwestern 91-43 and previous top-ranked team Bentley lost 73-66 to Stonehill on Saturday. The Lakers are now the lone undefeated team (women's or men's) at the NCAA Division II level.

The Laker women's program was also ranked #1 late in the 2010-11 season before capturing the NCAA Division II National Championship that year with a 35-1 record.

Forest Park Police Sgt. claims deniability in corruption scandal

ATLANTA -- Two Forest Park Police Sergeants have appeared in federal court, charged conspiring to commit extortion and attempting to distribute cocaine.

Forty-four-year-old, Victor Middlebrook, waived his preliminary hearing, while 57-year-old Andrew Monroe's attorney tried to prove his client didn't know he was protecting drug dealers.

RELATED | 10 local officers charged with helping drug dealers

The court heard how Middlebrook recruited a buddy to help protect drug deals for cash and how many of the conversations, in the undercover operation, were recorded. However, Monroe's attorney, Howard Manchel, asserted that there was insufficient evidence to show Monroe knew he was protecting drug deals.

Suspicious package found at Clayton County Animal Control

JONESBORO, Ga. -- A suspicious package found in a restroom at the Clayton County Animal Control building turned out to be harmless.

A volunteer found the package Friday morning, according to Clayton County Police Officer Danielle Rosa.

A bomb squad secured the building and x-rayed the package. They determined that it did not pose a threat, Rosa said.

No people or animals were harmed during the investigation. The package has since been removed from the building.

Clayton State Women's hoops are "Picture Perfect"

MORROW, Ga. -- As tournament time approaches the Clayton State Womens Basketball team is gearing up for another run at the NCAA Division II Championship. 

The Lakers are a perfect 24-0 and ranked #2 in the nation.

And contending for the NCAA title is expected at Clayton State. The Lakers are looking to extend their streak of NCAA tournament appearances to 9 straight. 

The Clayton State women made it to the Final 4 in 2007, Sweet 16 in 2008 and Elite 8 in 2009.

"It's just a part of the culture here", says Coach Dennis Cox, who led the Clayton State women to the NCAA Division II National title in 2011.

The Clayton State women clinched their third straight Peach Belt Conference Championship last week.Over the last three seasons, Clayton State has the best record in NCAA Division II women's basketball at 88-5 (.946 winning percentage).

Second suspect jailed in Rhode Island for cab driver killing

RIVERDALE, Ga. -- Julius Ryan Thomas was taken into custody in Providence, Rhode Island on Thursday, and is awaiting extradition back to Clayton County.

The suspect, according to the United States Marshal Service, is being held at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.

Thomas faces charges of felony murder, false statements, and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Clayton County Police obtained warrants on Wednesday for Thomas, who is the second suspect involved in the murder of a taxi cab driver.

Clayton County Police Officer Daniella Rosa said Thomas was wanted for the January shooting death of Rosendo Casarrubias. He faces charges of murder, making false statements and conspiracy.

On Jan. 25, police were dispatched to a suspicious vehicle on Brookview Drive in Riverdale. When officers arrived, they found Casarrubias dead from a gunshot to his head, Rosa said.

The Autism Gap: The fight for insurance

The Autism Gap: The fight for insurance

ATLANTA -- Eight year old Ava Bullard is playing with her sisters, riding their bikes on their long country driveway. It is a simple act that defies those who said she would never talk, those who said she wouldn't function in the real world.

Ava was not a typical baby, or toddler.

Her mother Anna says, "You couldn't interact with her."

MORE | Complete coverage of The Autism Gap

Ava did not play with toys. Did not speak. Could not dress herself. Did not interact with her parents or sisters. Slept two hours a night. She was in her own world.

Anna says, "It's like she looked straight through me. She would just...it's like you weren't there, if you were in the room with her."

Anna Bullard took Ava from doctor to doctor for months. One doctor told the family Ava was 'just weird.'